Birthed in the golden era of SoundCloud, Ohio’s Trippie Redd has been a pop force for the past three years. Delivering grungy rap that teeters between punk and pop, 21-year-old Redd has always stood out thanks to his rocky vocal delivery, which was made famous by his influential ‘A Love Letter To You’ mixtape series and previous two studio albums, ‘Life’s a Trip’ (2018) and ‘!’ (2019). With album three, ‘Pegasus’, the rapper loops back to being the moody Trippie we fell in love with.
Although Redd’s first two albums Trippie still featured mopey song (or three), they were still jam packed with floorfillers such as 2019’s ‘RIOT!’. Here he opens and closes ‘Pegasus’ with Virginian R&B newcomer Myiah Lynnae, the duo leaning on each other on ‘Let It Out’ and ‘Sun God’, sombre tunes that forge a sense of melancholy throughout the entire record. Unusually for the rapper, it’s hard to find a party track on this album: ‘Sleepy Hollow’, the most upbeat song here, is a bunch of distorted clashing bass accompanied by the rapper’s screamed vocals. Don’t want to be all up in your feelings? Don’t hit ‘play’ on ‘Pegasus’.
For a more emotional vibe, try the Tik-Tok friendly ‘Excited’, one of this year’s many collaborations with OVO superstar PartyNextDoor, which takes off when the beat kicks in and Trippie rocks up singing, “She wanna roll with a rock star”. It’s a foot-stomping, air-clutching anthem – and there’s another in ‘I Got You’, a recently released single with lyrical legend Busta Rhymes. Interpolating Busta’s 2002 sultry ‘I Know What You Want’ collaboration with Mariah Carey, the generation-spanning duo give you a modern take on a ‘00s classic, replete with feathery chimes and sampled vocals in the background while Redd croons those infamous lines, “Baby if you give it to me, I’ll give it to you / You know that I got you”.
Day one Trippie Redd fans, who eagerly waited for every SoundCloud drop from the then-teenager back in 2017, will remember the Swae Lee collaboration ‘TR666’. Who could forget the serene feels derived from a song all about pushing through and keeping your head up? The spacey synths sync with Lee’s babyish voice as Trippie reminds us that “if you don’t try / You’ll never know”. The Scott Scorch-produced oldie still has its touch three years later, remastered and finally on Spotify as a result of this record.
A better effort than his previous two records, ‘Pegasus’ is a soppy love album that doesn’t stray too far from Trippie’s original emo ethos. On the one hand, there’s not a huge amount of sonic growth here – and even at his tender age, the established Redd risks becoming old news as fellow self-starters such as Atlanta’s Spillage Village break through this year – but, on the whole, ‘Pegasus’ showcases a more mature Trippie Redd, and it’s a pleasure to watch him grow up in front of us all.
Release date: October 30
Record label: 1400 Entertainment / TenThousand Projects